Colleges Scramble to offer curriculum on Mormon religion (Boston Globe)
Ahhh, take a deep sigh of relief. Yes, folks, it’s true! Colleges and Universities across the U.S. are adding classes on Mormonism to their semester schedules.
Melissa Proctor is one such professor at Harvard who not only is teaching a class – she is a member of the Church as well.
“The interest is growing in Mormon studies generally, and it’s becoming something that other religious studies scholars have to take account of and pay greater attention to,” said Melissa Proctor, a visiting lecturer teaching the new class at Harvard.
“Some people believe we have entered a golden age of sorts in Mormon studies,” said Proctor, who grew up in the church and is working on a book about contemporary Mormon women.
Richard Bushman describes some reasons why this is happening:
“The study of religion in America is going away from the mainline Protestant establishment, to try to reconstruct a religious tradition that’s much more variegated and filled with dissent, and Mormonism gets caught up in that new range of interests,” he said.
Brian Birch of Utah Valley State college contributes:
“I think it’s safe to say that some combination of academic elitism and religious bigotry has delayed the development of Mormon studies,” said Brian D. Birch, the director of the religious studies program at Utah Valley State College, which offers four courses in Mormon studies. “Some of this is due to the categorization of Mormonism as a cult and hence not worthy of serious attention. This is not surprising given the historical connection between American religious studies and Christian divinity and theological schools.”
It’s nice to hear that tolerance might be extended to include my faith. Certainly, this is one great step in the right direction.